The "Mariachis of Brown"


*Inspired by Humans of New York


Meet the band and find out who's a Mariachi de Brown!

 

Silvina Hernandez, Singer '17

Mariachi de Brown Presidenta 2014-2015; Studying Abroad Fall 2015; Presidenta 2016-2017

Silvina studies Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and Latin American & Caribbean Studies at Brown and is originally from the beautiful state of Oaxaca, Mexico. It has been an amazing experience for her to serve as the leader of the group. She truly loves this band and everyone in it and hopes the Mariachi tradition lives on for years to come!

What is your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why? 
“Amor Eterno. I can’t say when I first heard this song, certainly many years ago as a young girl, but I know I loved it since that very first time. Every time I hear or sing it I can’t help but feel a breadth of emotions rise up within me. I think of my grandmothers, who I never met, my late great grandmother whom I love, and mi madre, that strong courageous woman who I have the pleasure to call mamá. I dedicate this song to all of them. My love for them is truly eternal.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“Wow, where to start with this question. I can honestly no longer imagine my life without Los Mariachis de Brown. I remember how happy I was the first time I met the band while visiting brown as a prospective student, I knew from that moment that they would be a key part of my life at brown. I have spent the happiest moments here with the mariachi and have to thank every member for making my experience better than I could have possibly imagined. I love you guys, I love everything we do, I love Mariachi de Brown!”

Cassie Cole, Trumpeter '18

Mariachi de Brown Manager 2015-2016; Vice Presidenta 2016-2017

Cassie joined the band her first year at Brown coming from Windham, New Hampshire to Brown. We know that with her on board there is nothing we can’t do. She is dedicated and caring, a wonder to be around; she has served as the band manager and now vice presidenta. She is very dedicated to the band and we are happy to have her with us. Cassie, si nos dejas we will continue to embrace you as part of our Mariachi familia for years to come!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
"I really like all the songs we play, especially since they're all still new and exciting to me! I guess if I have to choose one, I would say I really like the trumpet part in "Como Quien Pierde Una Estrella," because it's so full of energy and fun to play.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“I decided to join Mariachi de Brown this semester mostly on a whim when I read about the group in Morning Mail. I had never really listened to Mariachi music before, let alone played it, but I love playing music in general and it seemed like something new and exciting to try. I really love my experience with the group so far, and I love the music, which has a really exciting energy totally different from anything else I've played before. I'm excited to stick with Mariachi and see where it goes in the future!”

Max Sternlicht, Guitarist '18

Mariachi de Brown Social Media Director 2015-2016  

Max is from Brookline, Massachusetts. A rockstar at heart, he makes the band rehearsals exciting, although at times distracting... with his impromptu riffs and pump up attitude, but we love him through and through. When asked what he concentrated in he promptly answered “Hell if I know,” classy answer from Max. Don’t worry Max, you still got time and there’s always your Mariachi career to fall back on.
What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
"My favorite song is Alma Llanera cuz it gets my blood pumping.”
Why Mariachi de Brown?
“Because I was curious about new forms of music and the people are great and it’s fun.”
Anything else?
(A statement from Max) “Hola! Me llamo Max y no puedo hablar Español.”

Cesar Loera, Vihuelista '17

Studying Abroad Spring 2016

Cesar is from San Diego, California. He concentrates in mechanical engineering and still somehow found time to learn to play the vihuela and join Mariachi de Brown, we feel truly honored. You will often see him around campus with his instrument strapped on his shoulder always ready for a performance or rehearsal. Cesar impresses us all with his commitment, killer technique on the vihuela, contagious smile, and overall stellar personality. If it's any sign of the future successful engineer he is meant to be, he surely engineered his way into our hearts!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“Alma Llanera.. because it sounds AWESOME! The song changes so much in strumming patterns, so it never gets boring! Not to mention the mutes, the flushes, the 16th notes. It never gets old. It's any vihuela's dream, to be played with this song.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“I wanted to do something more than engineering at Brown, so I thought that playing in a musical group would be a good thing to do to relax the brain. So when I found out that Brown had a mariachi group, I quickly grabbed my guitar and joined. While yes I do love playing the guitar, and now the vihuela, mariachi music also helps me connect and never forget my Mexican heritage.”

Jeff Benes, Guitarist '18

Jeff is “from the beautiful city of wind everyone knows as Chicago.” Jeff showed up to his first rehearsal for mariachi in a sombrero, which of course made him stand out from the beginning. He subsequently won us over with his contagious enthusiasm, energetic personality and love for his favorite song: Como Quien Pierde Una Estrella. Como quien? Como Jeff!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“My favorite mariachi song is Como Quien Pierde Una Estrella because it was the first song I learned. I walked in to learn about mariachi and was thrown into this beautiful song. Also, the trumpet solo never fails to make me smile.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“Mariachi is beautiful. The people are great and it's wonderful to learn about music and people through Mariachi.”

Anything else?
Preferred alias: "Jefe el Chapo"

Williams Martinez, Singer '18

Williams is from Los Angeles, California. He studies Visual Arts and his artistic side definitely shines through in his singing. He is full of passion and energy and is a joy to be around. You can’t miss hearing him sing his heart out on Por Amor, when you hear him you really know he lives for love!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“My favorite Mariachi de Brown song is Si Nos Dejan because I imagine the lyrics to be what I will say to my future lover. I am romantic that way ;)”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“Mariachi de Brown has an interesting cast of people. We all seem to love to excite the minds of those who have not come across this type of music that offers so much passion, love, and animo!”

Anything else?
“I like it when people noodle around during rehearsal. Despite it not being the best thing to do at that specific time, it brings us closer as a group!”

Peter McGrath, Trumpeter '17

Peter is a graduate student in the math department from Silver Springs, Maryland. He is a trumpet master. We are amazed by his talent and his dedication. We’re not his only fans, you just have to check out his many brown admirers posts to know there are many more out there impressed by this mariachi de brown. Get to know him while you can, he won’t around much longer!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
"El Cascabel - this Mariachi chart has an irresistible orchestral flair!"

Why Mariachi de Brown? 
“I spent many hours in high school listening to the virtuoso trumpet soloist Rafael Mendez. No one seems to know who Rafael Mendez is anymore because recordings of his performances - mostly from the 1940s and 1950s - are of poor quality. I remain fascinated by his unique sound concept and one reason I joined this band was in the hope that I could emulate some of his characteristic style. Here is a sample of his playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk6kmnnzCfI."

Ashley Weber, Violinist

Ashley is a grad student in the mathematics department. She is from Whitehouse Station, a small town in New Jersey that Ashley tells us “no one knows of unless you live in the same school district.” We have really enjoyed having her in the band this year, she is always smiling, cheery and readily available to bring on her violin talents. Though math isn’t our speciality let's just say that adding Ashley to Mariachi de Brown has been all around a positive outcome and you can come to any of our events for a proof of our claim.
What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“It would have to be Guadalajara because it's just lots of fun to play.”
Why Mariachi de Brown?
“I was looking for a way to keep playing the violin on Brown campus, and I knew about Mariachi de Brown from Kenny. Plus I ran into the booth at the fall activities fair. So I decided to join.” (ps. Kenny is another Mariachi de Brown)

Patrick Gallant, Violinist '18

Patrick is a Philosophical wonder, he is at Brown concentrating in Philosophy (of course) and Computer Science. He is from Poughkeepsie, New York which Patrick tells us was recently rated as the third least desirable city in America. With his killer mustache and cool, laid back attitude, Patrick is definitely desirable to us and anyone looking to have a metaphysical good time!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“El Cascabel, because it sounds cool.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“I did orchestra for 9 years and got bored with it then I met you guys at the activity fair.”

Past members:

Maggie Geoga, Violinist '18

Mariachi de Brown Music Director 2015-2016

Maggie is a graduate student in the Egyptology department at Brown. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, she is an incredible violinist and serves as our music director in charge of choosing new additions to our repertoire and set lists. All the way from the windy city she’s blewn into the band to win over our hearts!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“It’s so hard to pick a favorite! But lately I have been really in love with “Ella.” It’s such a classic. Every mariachi has their own version of it, and despite having heard it so many times, it never feels any less powerful. It will never get old.”
Why Mariachi de Brown?
“Seven years ago, I joined a mariachi on a whim as an undergrad at Harvard. I happened to walk by the mariachi table at the freshman activities fair and thought, “That sounds like fun, why not!” Now I can’t imagine my life without mariachi. It’s really just happenstance that introduced me to something that has since become a very important part of my life. I am so, so grateful it’s worked out the way it did, and I feel very lucky to have ended up at a school that not only has a mariachi, but a mariachi full of such talented, hardworking, wonderful people as Mariachi de Brown.”

Liliana Sampedro, Guitarron '18

Liliana is a from Eugene, Oregon concentrating in sociology and ethnic studies. With her the songs come to life, she holds us together with every note and brightens up our day with every one of her smiles. We are lucky to have her in the band and can’t imagine our lives without her. Thank you for being our rock Liliana, contigo si se puede!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“Mm...well, I don’t really have a particular favorite song that we play per se. I just have the songs that I like to listen to when I’m feeling like a hopeless romantic like Si Nos Dejan, Amor Eterno or Ella. With songs like these, there is something pretty magical that happens when we all hit the right notes and our souls seem to sing and our bodies to sigh. Then there are those songs that I like to listen to when I’m feeling like a hopeful romantic like Por Mujeres Como Tu or Duele which should be the opposite because these songs are about betrayal and pain, but like never made much sense to me anyways. I guess though, that there’s a lot of hope to be gained from all that’s wrong in the world.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“I had first started playing mariachi when a couple of friends and I thought it'd be cool to help form a band. I fell in love with all of it from the start: the late-night practices in someone's basement, the early morning serenades in a stranger's home, and always, always, always, the memories we could play for others. I started off on the violin, but when our group needed a new guitarrón player, I was up for the task. I then stopped playing for two years, and so when I saw that Brown had their own band, all the feelings that I had forced myself to let go of came rushing back. There was absolutely no doubt that I would pass up the chance to play mariachi again. I remember that my first practice everyone was so welcoming and I knew that over time, these members, then strangers, now family, would have a very nice place in my heart.”

Francisco Hernandez, Singer '17

Francisco is from Moreno Valley, California, concentrating in Business Economics. He is a friendly, sweet, silly guy. He will make you laugh when you need it most and will be there to help you through rough times. Though he arrived to mariachi de brown intending to play accordion, after realizing this wouldn’t be possible, we are glad he stuck around to sing. You just have to hear him at his best in the song Volver Volver to know we were sure lucky que volvio!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“El Cascabel because its a great song that gets to highlight the sections of the mariachi.”

Why Mariachi de Brown? 
“Mariachi de Brown has some really cool people. It also reminds me a little of back home which is always nice.”

Anything else?
“Come check us out during our performances!”

Kenyon Alexander, Violinist '18

Kenyon is a dapper violinist from Boston Massachusetts concentrating in Computational Molecular Biology and Music. He does it all: Mariachi, Orchestra, Opera, Theater, and more, making him an all around musical guru. With his love for love and witty personality, this guy might steal your heart and you won’t realize it’s happened until it’s happened! This has totally been the case for all of Mariachi de Brown. Kenyon, te amamos! We can’t wait until our love and yours are recorded like molecules in a compound, harmoniously reacting in one of your musical compositions!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“Por Amor, because I love love.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“Because I wanted to try something new and it paid off.”

Jacob Ginsberg, Singer '16

Jacob is from Brooklyn, New York, concentrating in English. He brings joy and energy into any room, always dancing along to our songs or finding a harmony for the vocal to build a fuller sound. He is spontaneous and super fun to be around! Not to mention a true romantic, if you’re lucky enough to have him serenade you with his killer rendition of Por Mujeres Como Tu, you are sure to agree!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
"Malagueña Salerosa. It's been in my head since the first time I heard it, and it's my dream to sing it. The instrumentation is awesome. I love the melody and the the way the chorus expands rhythmically (like a note held for 6 measures) and makes use of the upper register. It's beautiful.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
"I saw the band serenading someone for Valentine's Day and I immediately wanted to join. I love singing and the music is perfect for my vocal range, and it's great to dance to; also the band is incredibly talented.”

Anything else?
“Close second to favorite song is El Cascabel- the most epic mariachi song I've ever heard.”

Rudy Torres, Vihuelista '16

Rudy concentrated in sociology from East Los Angeles, California. He is an upbeat, charismatic, friend to all. He always has a hug ready to make you feel better. He is silly, quirky, and a super awesome friend to have. We admire his enthusiasm, his ability to love basically every person he meets, and just overall amazing personality. Rudy, Por Amor there are people like you in the world!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
"Si Nos Dejan, porque me gusta que me dejen." (Because I like when they let me.)

Why Mariachi de Brown? 
“When else will I get to play with group of awesome, energetic, and loving people who care about the same music I do?”

Anything else?
“This is my fun fact at every icebreaker.”

Josh Bronk, Violinist '16

Mariachi de Brown President 2015-2016

Josh is  from Napa Valley, California concentrating in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. He is still figuring out what he will do after Brown but we wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to tour Guadalajara with his faithful violin on hand and a huge smile on his face lighting up every show with his vibrant, fun personality. Este güerito bonito is sure going places! Just look at those eyes, that vivacious look that draws you in and makes you want to get to know him; you just can’t help but swoon. But don’t even think about it, he is all ours!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“My favorite mariachi de brown song is Por Mujeres Como Tu. It’s not a super flashy song, but it’s so sentimental, and musically it has so much character. I love the way the harmonies build along the different instrument groups, and how the singers can really be expressive.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“When people think of Napa they think of wine, which is true to an extent. But we also have a vibrant and growing Mexican population, and they are integral to our culture, our infrastructure, and our economy. For me, learning Mariachi music is another extension of the culture I grew up around. Playing with Mariachi de Brown has deepened my appreciation for and understanding of my own community back home.”

Jonathan Garst Orozco

Jonathan is our mariachi profesional! Coming all the way from Mexico City, D.F, though now living in Providence, we are only beginning to find out about his incredible adventures as a professional Mariachi. His skills on the vihuela and friendly personality have contributed immensely to the band. We can’t wait to hear more stories of his time in Mexico and abroad, and continue to admire his killer botines and all around awesome traje de charro!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
"Alma Llanera, such rhythm, such feel."

Why Mariachi de Brown?
"I was walking near campus one day and heard the group playing; I had missed playing mariachi."

 

Aida Palma, Singer '16

Hailing from Guadalajara, Jalisco and Chicago, Illinois we have Aida. She concentrated in International Relations. Aida’s love and passion for Mariachi is in her roots! She is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, one of the iconic homes of the Mariachi tradition. She is our folklorico dancer in residence and will surely impress with her colorful dress!

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
“Ella, because it's about love al estilo jalisco.”

Why Mariachi de Brown?
“Because Mariachi runs through my veins.”

Anything else?
“Let's dance!”

Kenny Ascher, Trumpeter

Kenny is a graduate student in the math department from Long Island, New York. Aptly nicknamed “big bear,” Kenny is a super caring, lovable, tall guy. He is a great horn player and we hear an up and coming math genius. And though math is not our specialty, we know Kenny makes Mariachi de Brown exponentially cooler with his presence.

What’s your favorite Mariachi de Brown song and why?
"Como Quien Pierde Una Estrella; the harmony, good memories."

Why Mariachi de Brown? 
“Coolest band on campus.”

Anything else?
”It's all about seeing stressed college students actually smiling when they hear us play!”

Are you next? Join Mariachi de Brown! 

If you are a Brown University or RISD undergraduate or graduate student, contact us, we would love you to join the mariachi goodness! #mariachidebrown